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Fireworks light up the sky above Darling Harbour during last year's Australia Day celebrations. Rob Griffith/AP
Australia

230 Irish expected to gain Australian citizenship tomorrow

January 26 is Australia Day, when it is traditional for people from other countries to formally receive Aussie citizenship.

ABOUT 230 IRISH emigrants are expected to formally gain Australian citizenship tomorrow during ceremonies to mark that country’s national holiday.

Citizenship ceremonies are relatively common on January 26, Australia Day, with a total of 14,000 people from various countries expected to formally receive citizenship tomorrow.

Visa processing company Visafirst.com says the numbers of Irish people being granted citizenship has more than doubled over the last decade, and projects that 230 Irish people will be among the thousands receiving Australian citizenship tomorrow.

Manager Edwina Shanahan said significantly more Irish people would be taking oaths on the day, however, as it is relatively common for ex-pats who have been granted citizenship throughout the previous year to take affirmation oaths on January 26.

“On the same day last year over 13,000 people from 143 countries became Australian citizens, and an estimated 350 citizenship ceremonies were hosted across the nation on Australia Day by local councils and community groups,” Shanahan said.

852 Irish people became Australian citizens in the year 2001-2002, a number which nearly doubled to 1,413 in the equivalent period five years later. In 2010 – the last time when Ireland ranked among the top 10 countries sending new citizens to Australia – the number stood at 1,279.

The most recent figures show that 19.5 per cent of all new Australian citizens originally come from the UK, while 12 per cent are from India and 8.2 per cent come from China.

Exact figures for the number of Irish people who emigrate to Australia are not available; in the twelve months to April 2012, almost 35,000 people emigrated to countries outside the EU or USA, and it is expected that many of those will have moved to Australia or New Zealand.

January 26 marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first British fleet to Sydney Cove in 1788, which claimed British sovereignty over eastern Australia upon its arrival.

Read: What do you think is the most popular Irish product in Oz?

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